Master carver of the Sierra de Puebla

Puebla, Mexico
Puebla, Mexico

Q:  I got this mask in a public house located near Cuetzalan, Puebla, in which is common to see several masks hanging on the wall. This a Teodoro Tacuepian creation. Actually, i was at his workshop in Zacapoaxtla, trying to acquire some masks, but he only had 2 masks on sale, a Pilatos and negrito. The technique and the particular shape of the nose tell me it’s a recent creation. With age his technique has become more rough. Now he is almost 100 years old and still working.  Yusef, 758

A:  That’s our man. Teodoro Tacuepian Galvan was born in 1911 and did not start carving until late in life. I’m truly amazed that he is still productive at such an advanced age. He has made mainly masks in his distinct style, selling them to Mexicans for miles around his village of Tatoxca, plus plenty of tourists and dealers. I agree that his workmanship is getting a little rough, but I still like his style. If he lived in Japan he might be recognized as a “living treasure.”  You can read more about him and all of the other carvers of that mountainous area of Mexico in Bryan Stevens excellent book, Mexican Masks and Puppets.  A


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